Strike over for hundreds of Hydro Ottawa workers

Several hundred Hydro Ottawa workers will be heading back to work Wednesday after more than two months of being on strike. 

Members of the union representing the utility workers voted 57 per cent in favour to accept a new contract offer on Monday night, a union representative said.

“I think we got a pretty decent deal,” said Mike Hall, business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 636.

Around 370 Hydro Ottawa workers first went on strike in June, after their union and the company failed to reach a new collective agreement, which expired in March.

A Hydro Ottawa worker coils up a line that was taken down by a fallen tree branch after April’s major ice storm. After more than 80 days on strike, Hydro Ottawa workers will be returning to work on Wednesday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Hall said the new contract includes a wage increase of 14.5 per cent over four years. The new deal also includes “modest increases” to monetary perks like benefits and meal allowances. 

One of the biggest concerns of the union’s members was safety, Hall added. 

“We did receive a commitment from the company that they would address those issues, what that’s going to mean moving forward, time will tell,” he said. 

Hydro Ottawa said it signed a memorandum of settlement last week, which provides employees with a “generous increase” in wages, as well as increases to benefits, premiums and allowances.

“Specific terms will not be disclosed until the agreement is fully ratified,” the power agency said in a statement. 

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